Addressing to media, the Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said 12 countries have shown willingness to host the already-delayed intra-Afghan peace talks.
Germany and Norway in Europe, and other countries in the region, namely, Turkmenistan, China, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Iran, Qatar, Indonesia and Japan have set an eye to mediate the direct talks. However, Afghans are set to come to a negotiating table in the Qatari capital of Doha as soon as a process of prisoner exchange—which is a precondition for the start of talks with the militant group—is fulfilled, he said.
The Afghan government has fulfilled its commitment to peace, said Mr. Atmar, and has so far released 4,400 Taliban prisoners. A total of 600 Taliban prisoners with serious criminal background couldn’t be released, so the government asked the group to provide an alternative list of 600 Taliban prisoners to be freed, he added.
The additional 600 captives of the group would soon be released and the group must show “goodwill” for the commencement of the long-awaited talks.
Qatar also hosted the Taliban’s talks with the United States that led to the February 29 peace pact between the two parties aimed at ending the nearly 19-year-old Afghan war.
The Taliban has claimed that under the February’s peace pact, it has released more than 800 prisoners of the Afghan government so far whereas the Afghan government announced nearly 500 of the inmates were from the Afghan forces–the rest were all civilians.
Under a peace accord struck between the United States and the Taliban, the relevant sides are committed to put efforts to release prisoners as a confidence-building measure.
The United States and the Taliban signed a peace pact in February 29 under which the Afghan government was required to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners and for the insurgents to release 1,000 pro-government captives in return.
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